This past weekend was a big one. First, I was asked to be a judge for the Erie’s Best Wings Chicken Wing Cook Off. I got to Rainbow Gardens just before two o’clock on Saturday. I met with Tina Achhammer, Promotions Director & NTR Director for Cumulus Media, who led me to the secluded judge’s room where we would shortly begin our wing tasting. For undisclosed reasons, one restaurant did not compete, so we got to sample wings from nine locations instead of 10. I, myself, got to sample three different wing categories: Creative, BBQ, and Hot. The wings were served in rather quick succession, so I really had to try and clean my palate off in between each wing. Some of the creative wings were on the odd side. Sauces made with peanut butter, nacho cheddar cheese, and a maple syrup/bacon combination were a few of the flavors.
The BBQ was tougher to judge. Having only one wing to try of each sauce, I found some of the samples blended in with one another. While most of the sauces and flavors were delicious, it was the cooking of the individual wings that made all the difference. Some wings were just barely done and still had a softer, almost slimy, mouth feel. Those were not so good. Two sauces that stuck out to me: One had pineapple juice in it to sweeten it up, and the other was an Asian BBQ that was fantastic.
The hot wings were similar to the BBQ in that they all started to just taste the same. Although none was overly hot, a few had some creeping heat at the end. The sweeter chili hot wings we were given were delicious, as were a few of the others.
Eating 27 wings in a short amount of time was a lot, but I had a fantastic time being a judge, and I would love to be able to be part of this event again. Thank you to Tina and all of the participants for the great wings.
After I got home from the wing cook-off, I got an e-mail from Katie Schmid, owner of Lucky Louie’s Beer and Wieners. She was just letting me know that she decided to put a hot dog on the menu that was named after me. The Breakfast Beard, which came from a suggestion I gave her a few months back, has a Smith’s hot dog, your choice of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, powdered sugar and maple syrup, all on a French-toasted bun.
I ordered the Breakfast Beard for lunch today, and it was delicious. The saltiness of the hot dog and the bacon mixed with the syrup and powdered sugar was awesome. The French-toasted bun needed about 30 more seconds on the grill, but it was still great. I used the syrup as a dipping sauce, as the hot dog was already on the messy side.
I thank you, Katie, for the delicious naming addition to your menu. There are still a few more dogs on the menu that I haven’t tried, but I will be back to order them. I promise.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food